EditShare Drives Efficiency at Studio Hamburg

With a 30% time savings; TV, reality TV and films are produced with greater creative flexibility.

Studio Hamburg is a leading studio, production and service company catering to the German film and television industry. The company’s production arm creates some of the most widely-watched TV programs in Germany, including “Der Dicke”, “Grosstadtrevier”, “Tatort”, and “Sesamstrasse” as well as numerous feature films and documentaries. Headquartered on an 80,000 square meter site in the Tonndorf district of Hamburg, the Studio is renowned for its prestigious creative portfolio and technical expertise.

The Challenge

The Post Production department in Hamburg delivers more than 750 hours of programming each year to syndicators and broadcasters. An additional 450 hours originate at the nearby Lüneburg facility where the famous soap opera Rote Rosen (Red Roses), approaching its 600th episode, is produced. Faced with a growing production commitment, Studio Hamburg was looking for innovative ways to increase productivity without sacrificing technical quality or artistry.

The responsibility fell to Frank Hoewner, Head of Computer Graphics Restoration at Studio Hamburg, who oversees the video IT infrastructure in the Post Production department. Heiko Schlüter of videokonzept GmbH, an EditShare business partner, introduced Hoewner to the EditShare shared storage solution. “Studio Hamburg represents the top echelon in the industry,” says Schlüter. “EditShare’s experience in managing non-linear editing workflows, reliability and project sharing capabilities made it a natural fit for the Studio’s rigorous demands.”

The Solution

EditShare is a NAS-system of hardware and software that is optimised for video collaboration. Studio Hamburg installed individual 9.6TB EditShare units in the Hamburg and Lüneburg post facilities. At each location, there is a 10 Gigabit redundant connection between the EditShare server and network switch. All the client machines connect to the switch and operate on a cost effective Gigabit Ethernet network for quick, easy deployment and straight-forward administration. The servers’ RAID5 configuration offers efficient data protection. EditShare technology supports file level sharing so that all connected workstations can capture, access and share in real time a common pool of media files. Regardless of application or platform, source material, work in progress and finished packages are shared and instantly available to all users on the EditShare network. The rules-driven workflow ensures that no data is ever overwritten or accidentally destroyed.

Particularly important for Studio Hamburg was EditShare’s unique Project Sharing capabilities which enable multiple editors to work from the exact same Avid or Apple Final Cut Project and get instant Read Only access to each other’s bins and sequences.

The Workflow

The post workflow at the Hamburg facility emphasises quality, creativity and collaboration. Most of the programs and series are shot in 16 mm film. Used primarily for offline editing in DV25, the 8 Rack Unit (RU) EditShare is center-stage in the Studio Hamburg production chain. Twenty Avid systems and a Final Cut Studio 2 system are connected to the EditShare via a one gigabit ethernet network. Two of the Avid Adrenaline units are also are occasionally used for online (2 to 1) editing.

The 16 mm film is scanned on a Spirit DataCine® and recorded over a DVS Pronto System as DPX files. A Carbon Coder on the Pronto transcodes the files to either QT or MXF native Avid formats; these files go automatically into the EditShare where all the files are immediately available. The editors can open the files, import the audio files, synch them and share the project so other cutters can work with it.

After offline editing, the playout is imported to Studio Hamburg’s Final Cut systems and Nuendo systems for audio mixing, the edls are exported, and synched to the audio version and then everything is recaptured from Telecine in high definition to the online-SAN.

The workflow at Lüneburg where Rote Rosen is created reflects the tight turnarounds typical in reality and soap opera productions. The episodes are shot via videocam onto tape. The takes are ingested into the 5RU EditShare via an Avid system in online quality; editors have immediate access to the content to work their creative magic. Nuendo audio systems are connected directly to the EditShare to facilitate seamless audio production. After editing, color corrections are made on the Avid system and played out to tape.

The Benefits

Hoewner credits the EditShare system for improving efficiency in his operations - by as much as 30% in Hamburg alone. “Saving time means saving money,” says Hoewner. “Without the EditShare you would have to scan to digital betacam and then capture to the Avids before the cutters could even start working. We can also sync the audio more easily. Everything is moving more quickly now and our editors and artistic directors have the time to focus on the creative elements. We really couldn’t work without it.”

From an infrastructure perspective, Hoewner says the EditShare systems have been extremely robust and stable. He regards the RAID5 protection as “far more efficient and affordable than the mirroring required by other systems.” He’s confident about increasing storage capacity in the future because EditShare’s Extreme Scalable Architecture allows for easy expansion without major disruption to his operations. “Flexibility is the key,” says Hoewner. “The ability to work across different platforms and in multiple formats, including MXF. It’s a big advantage.”


Studio Hamburg - Main Facility

8RU EditShare Server:

  • 9.6 TB storage with redundant
  • 10 Gigabit connection to switch
  • Clients connected over 1 Gigabit Ethernet Network:
  • 16 x Avid Xpres ProHD with Avid Mojo
  • 4 x Avid Adrenaline
  • 1 x Apple Final Cut Studio2 System

Studio Hamburg – Lüneburg

5RU EditShare Server:

  • 9.6 TB storage with redundant
  • 10 Gigabit connection to switch
  • Clients connected over 1 Gigabit Ethernet Network:
  • 4 x Avid Xpress Pro HD with
  • Avid Mojo
  • 2 x Nuendo Systems